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How would people with an illness or disease get medication in an anarchist society?

+1 vote
asked Mar 3, 2014 by anonymous
edited Mar 3, 2014

3 Answers

+4 votes
From a place that creates those things.

What form this would take would probably depend on the circumstances and the specific problem (as opposed to the modern scenario which is essentially to turn to the medical industry for every single problem).

I'm critical of industrial medicine (and industry in general) and I consider that distinct from destroying something that forms one of the most basic necessities of my own survival.

There's also the possibility that many of the diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle, industrial pollution, and overuse of antibacterials would begin to fade out of existence if circumstances were significantly different from how they are today.
answered Mar 3, 2014 by Rice Boy (8,670 points)
+4 votes
I suspect that if there is an 'after the revolution,' there will be a large amount of people who aren't able to survive due to a lack of medication. Civilization has purposely destroyed the autonomy that humans had over their bodies by eliminating generations upon generations of passed-down knowledge for medicine, health, childbirth, etc.

Part of the process of 'healing' so to speak, will be relearning this, most likely with a lot of 'trial and error.'
answered Mar 4, 2014 by flip (3,980 points)
Do you think it's unreasonable that some people feel it's necessary to protect their access to things that keep them alive (even at the expense of revolutionary activity), or is this answer only implying that it just can't be said for certain whether people will have access to those things (no matter what)?
I definitely don't think that we can say for certain what the situation will be. With that uncertainty existing, I believe it's totally reasonable for people like that to protect their access to said things.

This is my big problem with anarchism right now. It's very idealistic in its vision, as in we're fighting for ideas as opposed to our own well being. Most anarchists admit they probably wouldn't live in a 'total rev/collapse' situation. I suppose one could say that the qualitative struggle for anarchy is worth trading the quantitative promise of a longer life, but I don't think this concept sells to many people.
Re: your big problem with anarchism -

I largely agree.

Although, I do think there are a lot of aspects of anarchism that are positive for the well-being of a lot of people. But then there are a few aspects that have a lot of uncertainty (or just aren't considered major priorities by people who think about anarchism) and that seems like an obstacle. Maybe anarchists need to be more creative (or less self-destructive, at least?) in their imagining of what a revolutionary situation would look like.
I agree that being creative is the way to go right now.

The tough point for me is I truly believe that we got to where we are now because of the process of civilization/agriculture. So, naturally, I wanna keep the crosshairs on that. That's about as 'radical' as you can get, and since 'everything must be destroyed,' there isn't any conceivable way to think about a future that people would get down to fight for.

Perhaps the realization that civilization isn't going to collapse in 'one grand event' can be used to our advantage. Situations can be thought about in the midst of certain elements failing with others staying in place, or how to respond to it getting weaker in some places, making sure it doesn't turn into Somalia. (not that somalia is anarchy gone wrong or something...you know what I mean)

The goal of insurrection maybe can be to open up space for that type of experimentation and, as the society decays, perhaps space can be reclaimed in a more permanent way. But maybe this is what other anarchists have already realized and I'm just behind on the times. :-p
I think I like this answer.
+4 votes
Basic answer: the same way folks have healed themselves for centuries: herbs, meditation, energetic medicine, spiritual work, as so on.

But the crux of industrialized medicine is the healing of industrialized problems. Many of the most common chronic diseases that rely on medication stem from our fucked up world. A few examples:

Modern Diet:  Depletion of minerals and lack of vitamins, etc (heart disease, mental health issues, birth defects), obesity (hormonal issues caused by excess estrogen), highly processed food (diabetes), GMOs (Celiac, allergies, and who knows what else)

Environmental toxins; plastics = endocrine-disruptors = hormonal dysfunction (such as thyroid issues); toxins, cancer.

Chronic stress and miserable lifestyle: Smoking (emphysema), alcoholism  (liver disease) and so much more!

Iatrogenic: mental/emotional disease caused by over-use of antibiotics (autism), the negative effects routine vaccination on our immune function (autoimmune and allergies), routine surgical birth ( asthma as a result of a cesarean section birth)

On top of that many medications used today either combat the side effects of other medications.

/Ideally an “anarchist society” would be working to heal itself and the land from the things that caused the diseases that created the reliance upon these complex medications in the first place./
answered Mar 30, 2014 by Katherine diFiore (5,200 points)
I agree with this answer, but I disagree with the opening premise. For centuries people have used horrible understandings of medicine in dominant Western culture. For eons before and for cultures outside of Western culture, this would be true. The American Civil War happened around 150 years ago, which is a great example of how medicine was a failure and not until World War 1 did medicine advance in Western culture.
I agree, but I disagree with the implied statement that medicine today and different, for the better, than it was then, not in form but in practice. All medicinal practices change and evolve and get better as understandings of bodies, health, disease and medicinal substances change. Living and learning is part of the human experiences.

But the nature of current industrialized medicine is harmful on multiple fronts. It is far from the days of medicine based upon wildcrafting herbs, cleansing saunas, wholesome food and other more traditional cures.

Sure, germ theory and anti-biotics did a ton for a lot of folks since the Civil War, I do not dispute that. But people are still dying regularly from the “guess and check” nature of medicine: pharmaceuticals are taken on and off the market as people die, are injured, or birth defects and so on arise, procedures are used until there is proof they are harmful (and even then, both the procedures and drugs, are still used today).

 Plus, add in the reliance on science and its drive to perpetrate itself, and current medicine becomes dangerous because of its lack of contentedness – there is always a newer, bigger, better drug or surgery or whatever, each with its own new set of risks.

It also is so narrow-minded, and hyper-focused in its diagnosis. Modern medicine is not holistic, it looks at a disease (or injury or what-have-you) as isolated from the person, and rarely (if ever) takes into account an individual’s constitution, life circumstances, mental-emotional state, and so on. As such, its cures are often so harmful, because rather than trying to create a health person overall, the medicine works on specific undesirable aspects by constant adding increasingly synthetics substances to the body (modern medicine does not use natural medicine, its extracts, creates in a lab, and packs its all into a pill). It does not seek balance it seeks results on lab tests. This way of looking at health is harmful to the body, and to our perceptions of health and our relationships to our bodies.

Now, add to that the capitalist/colonialist medical-industrial complex that exists to sustain all this (the amount of resourses necessary to sustain PhRMA and its buddies and the AMA and so on).

Tl;dr: People are still dying and being injured from awful medicine today, plus its obsessed to progress (ew...), its cures are synthetic, it does not heal it “cures”, and it requires copious amount of resources.
I dont understand any of the above answers. Could someone please tell me again why we are assuming there wont be any doctors/medicine makers around when anarchism is established?

I was under the impression medicine making facilities would be collectivized by their employees. Also, the Doctors of the world wont simply disappear either.

this is not an answer to the question. has been edited to make it a comment.
In my opinion, this type of question implies a "here today, gone tomorrow" conception of hierarchy, state, industry, etc., with the idea that anarchy would immediately replace the existing society. I see lots of these questions here that start "in an anarchist society, how would "x" (public services, murder, drugs, medicine, you name it) work.

While that type of thinking can be amusing and imaginative, I generally don't see a lot of value in engaging it because it doesn't apply to life today, and I don't see any sudden transformation happening. Everything is always in a state of change, and it is in the here and now that I wish to conceive of life differently, not some imaginary future where all remnants of the currently existing story are completely wiped out.

edit: this comment was in response to fidelspikes comment above (which was previously posted as an answer).
i think that many of these kinds of questions are getting at the idea that there are two distinct (and connected, of course) situations that anarchists focus on - one tends to be a transitional phase (how do we get to where we want to be) and the other is post-change (how will things work in a world organized so differently from the one today)--also known as atr (for after the revolution, where "revolution" is a tongue in cheek shorthand to refer to a desirable foundational shift).
as i've noted before, people who focus on the first type of question tend to be very practical and logistics-based, while those engaged with the second type emphasize imaginative, creative alternatives.
this question i read as one about atr.
I think I understand what you're saying regarding the two situations, dot, but I don't agree about there being two types of people who focus on one or the other.

For me personally, there is much more imagination and creativity involved in attempting to live my life differently now than there is in thinking about some point in time where everything is supposedly radically different from today and all I have to do is show up for it. I do see some value in imagining that future, but it doesn't feel nearly as motivating for me. When thinking about "how would this or that work", it seems to me to be a more tacit form of control, of wanting to know how everything would work out, as if I could ever know that. So, to me it's not a difference of being practical versus being creative, it's a difference of living creatively now rather than thinking I have the answer to some unknowable future.

edited to add: Basically, I'm saying that the transitional phase you mentioned seems more like a creative, imaginative process, and the atr question appears to be more of a practical, logistical process (i.e. how would this work?). I see creativity and practicality being present in either type of question - but for me it's a matter of which one seems more meaningful.
see, the thing is all of these questions should be seen from the point of view of presenting a viable alternative to the non-anarchists. People who have been so indoctrinated (the vast majority) by today's institutions that they wouldnt just give up on believes held for a lifetime if you cant at least answer basic-level questions like these. who would look after policing, justice delivery (nice corporate ring to it dont it?), logistics for which their have only been hitherto two institutions in the contemporary public's memory - government-run and corporate.
So, even though its ok to sometimes get irritated at the "one-day revolutionists", I think theyr basically coming from a right place since imo they simply want to be ready with an answer (of sorts) when the statists finally tire of debate and turn back with a "OK, so show us your alternative then?"
its not about a  "tacit form of control, of wanting to know how everything would work out" (the term for that is dogmatism) . Nobody wants to write another little red book of rules (god forbid!). Wanting to have a rough-blueprint of a future society for which you claim to be working however, isnt a bad thing at all. In fact, it is nessecarry imo.
I think all of just want to say that the blueprint should be seen as a guideline and never as a canon/dogma.
P.S do you know that the word "statist" isnt recognized by the dictionary (at least not by the one thats correcting my comments :-D)
fidelspikes, I agree that people don't just give up on long held beliefs, and in my experience, providing alternatives for them (in terms of how all of society would function) doesn't seem to make any difference (other than to further entrench them in those beliefs) unless they are already seeking them. And when someone is seeking an alternative (as I have been), it is much more powerful to relate an experience or something that I can do today than it is to postulate how an entire world might function.

For example, when people (non-anarchists) have asked me "how would society function without money or laws?", it seems I can never give a satisfactory answer. But when I share my stories of how I participated in gift circles or resolved/dealt with conflicts without the law, it appears to me that they engage much more in the creative process. And then we might be able to imagine and talk about how things could be different in our relationships, communities, and so on. It's more tangible and creative. Otherwise, it seems they write it off as just another person spouting rhetoric for some utopia.

edited to add: I think in either case there is imagining and projecting - it's just a matter of how immediate and personal the conception is.
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